Product Spotlight – RIS (Reseller Information System)
No matter what category of consumer-packaged goods a manufacturer sells in today’s $760-billion CPG marketplace, it is a near universal challenge of suppliers to maintain – let alone gain – sales volume growth. One reason – the shopper’s path to purchase. It is evolving at breakneck speed, in part, because omnichannel opportunities abound, and many consumers are taking advantage by diverting their spending to channels or retail banners that are evolving along with them. At the same time, consumer needs and habits have shifted, driven by unfavorable micro-economic factors like decades of stagnant wages and the exponential growth of costs in the health care and higher education sectors.
Why it is no longer good enough to just win in the traditional Grocery channel
In PwC’s report “2017 Consumer Packaged Goods Trends” they describe today’s consumer market as fragmented into two basic camps: survivalists and selectionists. Survivalists are value seekers who have cut back on spending, and belong to the retiree and millennial age groups. These folks are extending their budgets by shopping value retailers that offer lower prices and greater convenience, such as Aldi, Lidl, and Costco as well as online outlets. On the other hand, selectionists can afford to be choosier, and select products they perceive are of higher quality. They are attracted to namesake stores of CPG brands that market premium-priced items. The resulting retail landscape shows discount and top-end companies doing well compared to retailers in the middle, who are burdened with excess shelf capacity and lower revenues. CPG firms who historically served these retailers now have to support multiple retail formats to keep pace with the consumer shift and retail channel divide. They are no longer concerned with just winning the grocery channel, whose share of all packaged-goods sales is forecast to drop from 45 percent to 37 percent by 2025.
Identifying and taking advantage of marketplace opportunities, the fundamental keys to sales growth, are more crucial now than ever before. By understanding consumer desires and shopping habits, and aligning product and brand portfolios for growth, a CPG manufacturer has a fighting chance to manage and improve their top line. In their road map for sustainable growth, PwC recommends analyzing portfolios to see if the products offered line up logically with the market categories and niches the firm is strategically focused on and competitively positioned to win.
Finding sustainable sales growth opportunities through distributor-to-retailer shipments
As a data management and analytics provider to CPG industry leaders for over 20 years, Management Science Associates (MSA) has been counseling clients for decades to have a clear perspective on which channels, categories and products are performing well, so they can figure out which white-space opportunities will lead to growth. As a manufacturer, you know how much product you make and how much you ship, but do you know:
- Which products currently match market demand (consumer preferences) and which do not?
- How well your brands and individual items are selling compared to other key competitors in your category and channels?
- Which distributors or brokers are the most effective at achieving the product distribution you need?
- How many banner stores of a particular chain are bypassing or under-ordering your products even though they are on the corporate-approved item list?
MSA can help you find out. Our Reseller Information System (RIS), utilizing the data you have purchased from your distribution base, gives the most comprehensive view available of actual reseller shipments to individual grocery and convenience store retailers, with granular visibility down to the store-level. MSA collects, harmonizes, warehouses and analyzes shipment data received weekly from thousands of enrolled distributors covering over a million unique SKUs and hundreds of thousands of retail chains and independents, including 150,000+ convenience stores and kiosks. And, we track shipments down to the SKU level. Our system returns precise, accurate, high quality data on all store deliveries across all channels served, including secondary channels like Small Grocery, Club, Dollar, Liquor Stores, and others.
As a trusted third party who is unbiased and data source independent, MSA can show you not only shipments of your products, but also your competitors’ retail delivery volumes, share and top items. Armed with sales performance intelligence from RIS, you can see how you are doing across retail accounts and in specific stores relative to competitors. Then, you can fine-tune sales call activities, planogram assortments, and trade promotion tactics to motivate your distributors and retailers with more lucrative sales possibilities and incentive earning opportunities.
In addition to a full RIS for manufacturers, we offer both a distributor-level view and a store-level view of this data. Contact me at MDiSanto@MSA.com for a no obligation conversation to explore what channels, chains or stores you are lacking visibility, and how our Reseller Information System can deliver those insights to you.
by Mike DiSanto, Sr. Client Relationship Manager